Two injured in stone-throwing at anti-Netanyahu protests

The Crime Minister movement renewed its protests against Israeli opposition leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a month ago when elections were announced.

 Two Crime Minister protestors after stones were thrown at them during a protest. (photo credit: CRIME MINISTER)
Two Crime Minister protestors after stones were thrown at them during a protest.
(photo credit: CRIME MINISTER)

Two people in their 60s were injured in a stone-throwing attack on Saturday evening while taking part in a “Crime Minister” protest against opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Rishon Lezion.

The assailants were driving on the bridge where the protest was being held, when they stopped the car, collected stones and threw them at the protesters.

The moderately injured men were taken to Shamir Medical Center to have their wounds treated.

In a video posted on Facebook by avid anti-Netanyahu activist Or-ly Barlev, one of the men recounted how the assailants had attacked them despite their attempts to hold them off.

“We need to fight even more now,” he said. “It’s in our hands, otherwise it will end as it did in November 1995.”

 A Crime Minister holds up a poster reading ''Netanyahu is Ben Gvir, Ben Gvir is Netanyahu'' while a pro-Benjamin Netanyahu protestor holds up a poster reading ''Israel is only the nation of the Jewish people.'' (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) A Crime Minister holds up a poster reading ''Netanyahu is Ben Gvir, Ben Gvir is Netanyahu'' while a pro-Benjamin Netanyahu protestor holds up a poster reading ''Israel is only the nation of the Jewish people.'' (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

On November 4, 1995, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated during his second term in office. Rabin was a member of Labor and was murdered by a far-right activist who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords which were part of the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

What is the Crime Minister movement?

The Crime Minister movement began in 2020 while Netanyahu was still prime minister. Weekly protests calling for Netanyahu’s resignation were held outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv.

A little over a month ago, the movement’s first protest in a year took place following the announcement of elections with the dissolution of the government.

Israelis protest against Benjamin Netanyahu and Itamar Ben-Gvir

This protest was not just against Netanyahu though. The movement is now protesting against Netanyahu and far-right MK Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Former members of the coalition said the incident was proof of the danger of having Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir in the next coalition.

“The violence against protesters in Ness Ziona is a direct continuation of 30 years of wild and violent incitement by Netanyahu against anyone who opposes him,” wrote Labor leader Merav Michaeli on Twitter. “But this violence only strengthens us in our battle to remove Netanyahu from our public and political lives and save the nation and our democracy. We won’t rest until we win.”

"But this violence only strengthens us in our battle to remove Netanyahu from our public and political lives and save the nation and our democracy."

Labor leader Merav Michaeli

Meretz MK Yair Golan tweeted: “Is anyone surprised?” with photos of one of the men with blood dripping down the side of his head. “The next political murder is close! Go on interviewing Ben-Gvir, meeting with Ben-Gvir and putting Ben-Gvir in the Knesset. The anti-democratic violent Right is Israel’s greatest threat.”

Condemnations didn’t only come from left-wing politicians though.

Yoaz Hendel, who is running in the Zionist Spirit Party led by Ayelet Shaked, wrote on Twitter that “any political violence is a severe incident that needs immediate investigation and heavy consequences.”